A bureaucratic organization has a pyramid-shaped organizational structure that consists of hierarchies with many levels of management.
It uses a top-down or “command and control” approach to management in which managers provide considerable direction to, and have considerable control over their subordinates.
A bureaucratic organization is based on functional division of labor . Employees are divided into divisions based on their function. Thus production employees are grouped in one division, marketing employees in another, engineering employees in a third, and so on.
Rigid boundaries also separate workers from one another and from their managers because the bureaucratic structure relies on work specialization.
Narrowly specified job descriptions clearly mark the boundaries of each employee’s work. Employees are encouraged to do only the work specified in their job description – no more and no less.
They spend most of their time working individually at specialized tasks and usually advance only within one function. For example, employees who begin their career in sales can advance to higher and higher positions in sales or marketing but cannot switch into production or finance.
The flat organizational structure reduces some of the boundaries that isolate employees from one another in bureaucratic organizations. Boundaries between workers at the same level are reduced because employees are likely to be working in teams.
Employees in flat organizations can cross functional boundaries as they pursue their careers.
Job descriptions in flat organizations are more general and encourage employees to develop broad range of skills (including management skills).
An organizational structure that enables an organization to form relationships with customers, suppliers and/or competitors, either to pool organizational resources for mutual benefit or to encourage cooperation in an uncertain environment.
Such relationships often take the form of joint ventures, which let the companies share talented employees, intellectual property (such as a manufacturing process), marketing distribution channels (such as a direct sales force), or financial resources.
Boundaryless organizational structures are most often used by companies that select the prospector business strategy and operate in a volatile environment.
Companies often use a boundaryless organizational structure when they (1) collaborate with customers or suppliers to provide better-quality products or services; (2) are entering foreign markets that have entry barriers to foreign competitors, or (3) need to manage the risk of developing an expensive new technology.
The boundaryless organization is appropriate in these situations because it is open to change, facilitates the formation of joint ventures with foreign companies, and reduces the financial risk to any one organization.
Ergonomics is the science of fitting the job to the worker and adapting the work environment to the needs of humans. An overall goal of ergonomics is to promote health and safety and to optimize productivity.
It is the scientific study of people at work.
The term ergonomics comes from the Greek words ergon , meaning “work”, and nomos , meaning “laws” - thus, laws of work.
Ergonomic design is the application of knowledge about physical abilities and limitations as well as other human characteristics, to the design of the workplace (i.e. work tasks, equipment, environment) for safe and efficient use by workers.
Ergonomic job design has been applied in redesigning equipment used in jobs that are physically demanding. Such redesign is often aimed at reducing the physical demands of certain jobs so that anyone can perform them.
In addition, many interventions focus on redesigning machines and technology, for example adjusting the height of a computer keyboard to minimize occupational illnesses, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Employers wondering how to begin protecting their workers from ergonomic hazards might also consider the regulations that OSHA had proposed in 2001; these direct employers to avoid five specific high-risk work practices:
Using a keyboard for four hours straight without a break.
Lifting more than 75 pounds.
Kneeling or squatting for more than two hours a day;
Working with the back, neck, or wrists bent more than two hours a day.
Using large vibrating equipment such as chainsaws or jackhammers more than 30 minutes a day.
Although these regulations did not take effect, they do identify characteristics of jobs that may pose problems for employees. When jobs have these characteristics, employers should be vigilant about opportunities to improve work design, for the benefit of both workers and the organization.